EDITORIAL: Avoid wildlife woes

What remains troubling, despite the best efforts to educate the public about bear safety, more and more bear/human encounters are occurring.

Bears are a serious concern in many areas of Mission. Sightings are common.

What remains troubling, despite the best efforts to educate the public about bear safety, more and more bear/human encounters are occurring.

And the fault lies with humans.

We have slowly encroached into bears’ territory, building more homes in the wilderness, leaving animals little choice but to step into our corner of the world.

Worse than that, some people put out a welcome mat, ring the dinner bell and all but invite the animals to come over.

Bears are foragers, always on the look out for food, and garbage is an easy-to-find and easy-to-eat food source.

People are attracting bears to their property by leaving out their garbage, then calling conservation officers when the creatures comes around.

WildSafeBC, formally Bear Aware, has asked Mission council to consider a bylaw that makes it an offence, punishable by a fine, to put garbage out at any time other than the morning of pick-up day.

The only exception would be if garbage was placed in bear-proof containers.

It’s unfortunate that the public cannot see the obvious benefit of keeping trash under wraps until garbage day. However, many don’t, and a fine may be the only way to convince them to change their habits.

Wild animals are not going to change their natural instincts, so it’s up to us to solve the problems.

Bears usually avoid contact with humans, but the smörgåsbord that we often supply is too tempting to resist.

Cut off the food supply and cut down the problem.